Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Restrain or not restrain?

I recently came across a discussion thread and conversation about restraining methods when dealing with an Autistic child in the middle of a violent meltdown or outbreak.  A lot of the people commenting were trying to make restraint out to be something cruel and abusive, even when used
safely and responsibly within the context of gaining control of a child who has gotten into a violent mode.  Their suggestion?  Lock them away in a room where they only have themselves and the walls to take out the aggression on.  This was repeatedly referred to as being a way to help the child learn to quit doing it, because they'll "eventually get tired of isolation" and/or "they'll get to where they don't like getting hurt so when they are only able to hurt themselves they'll realize they need to stop".

I made my responses in the thread but felt that this is a topic I feel strongly enough about that I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject here.  My hope, in part, is that this post can help spread understanding and support and that it can offer some a new way of looking at this issue or comfort to those already living this issue out in their own homes.  Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your own comments on the issue below. :)  I am always open to hearing other opinions even if they are different than mine.  We don't always have to agree with each other in order to value each other's opinions. :)
--Crafter Dream

This post is not meant to discuss the meds or no meds question.  That would take and entirely different blog to cover that whole issue fairly in my opinion and I am not currently up to that task.  Thanks for understanding. :)


My son David can get pretty violent too and is as strong as an ox at times even though he's only 4. I have been using the "take down method" (taking hold of them and lowering them to the floor with you as you brace them) for years now but he's starting to get too strong for me to do it safely every time so I have been trying to find other solutions too. He's the size of a 5 to 6 year old and has unbelievable muscle strength for his age and even his size.

As far as the shirt idea (taking an adult shirt and placing it on the child and then pulling back the sleeves behind them to help gain control over arms swinging about), as long as you're being careful not to hurt her and are sticking to only using it when necessary for safety, you're fine and don't let some one tell you otherwise. I do hope the doctors and other specialists can help you and your precious daughter get the violence under better control though because living like that can't be easy on her or you.

As far as the locking/shutting them away in a room? That is what I would call abusive. Works well as preventative, but once they're already losing it? I know at least as far as my son goes, and a lot of the kids I used to work with when I was younger and volunteered at a special needs summer program, that kind of sudden isolation when they're already struggling with self control (and a lot of times delusional issues like not being able to tell where they are or who they're with anymore) only escalates the problem and causes them to turn on themselves.

I apologize if I am reading this wrong, but it sounds to me like the ones trying to say room verses restraint are basically saying it's okay to sentance the child to self abuse in the name of "learning how to control themselves" just as long as no one else in the area has to deal with getting hurt. Responsible and safe usage of restraint methods, in my opinion, are the kindest and most humane way to help calm down a special needs child in the middle of a violent meltdown because you're not just protecting others from the child's abuse, but you are also taking the care and time to protect the child themself from their abuse. Remember, when dealing with a special needs child (especially ones with issues with Autism) the violence and abuse isn't something they can just stop because they "learned their lesson" or "they no better than to act that way". They can't help it and they depend on us to not only help find ways to help them control the violence, but also to keep them safe (not just those around them) until solutions have been found.

1 comment:

  1. The blog keeps cutting off the last part so I am including it here. Thanks for taking the time to read this and my post and thanks in advance to anyone willing to share their thoughts on the subject too. :)


    I am not saying they can't know better, but I am saying they can't always help it so therefore they aren't purposely setting out to be "bad" or out of control.

    I completely agree with the need to find ways to help them gain better contr...ol of their meltdowns and violence as well as ways to help prevent it all from happening in the first place as much as possible. Our kids need that from us for sure. I just was also trying to point out that we as parents need to be just as careful to not fall into the trap of treating them too much like a "normal" kid (I hate that term, because it's so relative but I'm using it for lack of being able to think of a better term at the moment).

    There are differences, and we have to remember and consider those when trying to deal with and/or help prevent and stop a lot of their behaviors and issues. We can't always treat them like we would other kids because they don't think or function or in some cases even understand the same way as other kids. This doesn't mean we should just let them get away with anything and everything, but it does mean we need and should approach how we deal with it all and how we help them learn to deal with it too.